This collection celebrates the legendary moments that New Zealanders — huddled around the telly — gawked at, chortled with, and choked on our Choysa over as they played out on our screens. "There's a generation who remember where they were when JFK was shot", but as Paul Casserly asks in his collection primer, "where were you when Thingee's eye popped out?"
Beatlemania hit New Zealand in June 1964, as this footage makes clear. Welcoming 'the Fab Four' to Auckland after they arrive from Wellington, Mayor Sir Dove-Myer Robinson repeatedly asks the noisily enthusiastic crowd to "hold it please". He shakes John Lennon's finger, and the Beatles lark around with poi and attempt to hongi members of a Māori culture group. George Harrison also features in a short opening interview. Lennon threatened not to perform unless police protection was upgraded, after the Beatles encountered large crowds while arriving at their hotel.
Music show host Richard Driver encounters “arguably the most famous person in rock’n’roll”. A very relaxed Mick Jagger is promoting his second solo album Primitive Cool when Driver interviews him outside Auckland’s busy downtown ferry terminal. The Rolling Stones singer’s sunglasses get a solid workout as he enthuses about his new band (which includes guitarist Joe Satriani), dismisses celebrity biographer Albert Goldman’s book about John Lennon, recalls encounters with Michael Jackson, and ponders the curious situation of being the subject of a tribute band.
Chris Knox wears a Madonna head-set mic and John Lennon sunglasses, with a t-shirt and bright yellow shorts, as he walks along Auckland's Ponsonby Rd singing and playing guitar. In background inserts Knox himself plays a mad air-guitar-playing chorus and censor. Very simple, but full of cheek and characteristic CK energy.
The Knobz were originally Rockylox — founded by singer-guitarist Kevin Fogarty in 1978. After a name change in 1980 they had a Top 10 hit with ‘Culture?’: a jab at Prime Minister Rob Muldoon’s refusal to lift a sales tax on recorded music. Another topical single — a John Lennon tribute called ‘Liverpool to America’ — failed to match the success of ‘Culture?’ Album Sudden Exposure followed; but they disbanded in 1983 after failing to get a foothold in Australia. Now a teacher in Auckland, Fogarty co-founded the ‘Ukuleles in Schools’ programme.
The moment Thingee's eye popped out has become a legendary event in Kiwi television history, as an unflappable Jason Gunn continues hosting duties, despite his co-presenter being in a spot of bother. The ocular incident occurred during filming of The Son of a Gunn Show. Although some swear they saw it happen live, the moment did not go to air until weeks after the event — on a nighttime bloopers show. Thingee debuted on After School and appeared in several children's shows, including What Now?. He retired from New Zealand television after returning to his home planet.
Janet Roddick is a member of Plan 9, a musical collective whose CV includes composing 20+ features and over 130 hours of television. Roddick first sang alongside David Donaldson and Steve Roche in celebrated band Six Volts, before the three formed Plan 9 in the early 90s. Their list of soundtrack awards includes gongs for Predicament, Perfect Strangers, and Saving Grace. Roddick has also acted on stage and screen.
Ray Columbus, OBE, began hosting television shows at the tender age of 19. After Columbus and the Invaders topped Australasian charts with 1964 single 'She's a Mod', Columbus spent time as a musician in America. The song was covered multiple times. He later returned to Aotearoa to resume a long career as recording artist, TV presenter and talent manager. Columbus passed away in late November 2016.